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Enhancing pupil learning on museum visits
Enhancing pupil learning on museum visits

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2 What's out there for our school?

There are close to three thousand museums, galleries and heritage sites in the UK and there are approximately 100 million visits made to them every year. Internationally important collections of ancient relics and artistic masterpieces jostle for our attention alongside personal collections of precious oddities.

We have a dynamic national network of hi-tech, interactive science centres, encouraging creative thinking and practical experimentation. The centres look back at the history of science, explain key theories and principles and look to the future. Their emphasis is always on doing and discovering, based on the belief that hands-on interactivity leads to understanding.

Our art galleries, whether a single room in a remote rural area or a vast national institution, act as both display spaces and places for inspiration or reflection. As well as paintings, sculptures and drawings, you'll find photographs, video installations, ceramics, crafts, live artists at work and much more.

We live surrounded by our rich cultural heritage. The British landscape, both urban and rural, is dotted with reminders of our past. Steam railways, castles, coal mines, canals, medieval barns, Roman fortifications, ancient burial mounds, prehistoric fossils … the list goes on.

These resources can be used as inspiration across a range of subjects. History, art and science have the most obvious links, but literacy, numeracy, citizenship, geography and drama can all be taught to great effect with the imaginative use of local museum and heritage resources.

Activity 2

It's always useful for a school to have an up-to-date list of the museums, galleries and heritage sites in the local area.

To research what's available near you use the search box or map search when visiting the 24 Hour Museum [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

You may like to print out a list of venues and their collection details and keep it handy when planning, or post it as web link for colleagues if you have a school web or intranet site. This makes it easier to incorporate museum visits into your teaching at the planning stage, rather than as an add-on later.

The document Accessing museums and galleries is also useful. It has ideas for getting started with your local museum together with short descriptions of a few of the many national projects that welcome and encourage school participation and involvement.

Click on 'view document' below to download Accessing museums and galleries: a practical guide.